The Most Important Call
In the church there is a term that has almostbecome cliché. People speak of being “called”…called to ministry, to preach, to prophesy, to pastor, to evangelize, to dance, to serve, etc. It is a term that is used essentially to highlight one’s discovery, acknowledgement, and acceptance of divine purpose. Clichés aside, there is indeed a legitimacy to being called. For some, however, when the topic comes up, it incites frustration at the reminder of how elusive the answer can be.
One day recently, I sat in my room and conversed with a brother of mine. We spoke of the difficulties of life, the struggle of becoming men, and of discovering purpose. Somewhere along the way, we inquired about why this was the case. Why is it so difficult, such a struggle to find the answer? Then it clicked: we have grown so busy in trying to figure out the call on our lives that we have forsaken the most important call: to God Himself.
If you look across the pages of Scripture you will find that any man or woman that ever served was first called into the presence of God…to commune with Him…and it was in that communion that their purpose and call was revealed. Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Mary, Peter, Paul…even Jesus...they are all examples.
It was just this week that my spiritual mother, Pastor Pamela Dillon, began to speak more of this as she taught on prayer. She informed us that: “When you get into His presence He calls what’s in you out. Who you are cannot be unveiled until you get into the presence of the Lord.” Then she followed up with a question that was even more profound: “What is the presence of the Lord?” In other words, how do we answer this call of entering into God’s presence? Several of the leaders began to expound on it and all the feedback came to this: “Letting go of control, acknowledging God in the moment (even the hard moments), an atmosphere of conversation with the Lord and with godly people, dying to your will, a place of meeting, and order.” Additionally, it is the practice of answering the eternal invitation and offering yourself to the Lord there.
I imagine the grief of God to have such an incredible gift on the table for the taking, yet so few of His sons and daughters willing to receive it. Too often, our actions prove that we are content to live without having Him, knowing Him, communing with Him on the level that He desires. And yet…He calls out! He beckons us to His presence! He longs for us to know Him in all of His height, depth, and width. But there is a price. And because there is a cost to walking with God on that level, too many of us choose to remain where things are comfortable rather than casting aside the weights and sins that keep us from going higher.
Why? Why do we do this? Why do we run from the very answer to our prayers? Why do we resist? Why do we withhold our love from the only One truly worthy of our unrestrained affection? My heart is filled with grief. I know that I have run away and wasted time. I have bowed to fear. I have focused on worry. My faith has been beat down. I have moved and walked by sight and not by faith. Lord help me…help any of us that are guilty of this to repent.
Lord, give us hope. Give us strength to persevere. Give us grace to finish the work. Give us grace to arise and to awaken from our slumber. Oh, God we need a fresh and heightened hunger for You. Teach us to hunger and thirst again. Teach us to cry out to You, to make time with You, to sacrifice sleep for You, to hunger and thirst...to beseech You! Make us willing to forsake every lie and distraction that would keep us from knowing You. We renounce fear. We renounce cowardice. Keep us from avoiding the confrontation with ourselves and with You.
Let us surrender to Your beckoning. Forgive us for running away. I can see now that we have been afraid of You. We have treated You as those who have hurt us. We have treated You as those who have broken our hearts. And what we have believed about You is the farthest thing from the truth. You desire to show us what commitment looks like. You desire to show us what unconditional love looks like. You desire to show us what Perfect Fatherhood looks like. We desire to come closer. Give us the grace to press past every unhealthy fear, all pride, all sin, all transgression, and all iniquity that would keep us from knowing You. Give us the grace to surrender it all and to simply follow You.
Now to make it personal:
Father, teach me to war! Teach me to declare war on my sins, and on my flesh, and on anything that would come between us. Temptation is ever before me...and sin is never satisfying past a moment. It is a vapor of satisfaction in comparison with the time that is spent in eternity. Lord You promise that if I drink of Your water, then I will never thirst again. Father let my thirst for You be greater than the desires that rise up in me for the things that displease You. My heart is grieved. Your heart is more grieved…and for that I also ask will You forgive me? Forgive me for causing You grief. I want to please You. Give me strength to endure. My spiritual man is malnourished as I have forsaken Your Word. I have gotten away from delighting in Your Word; away from the excitement that used to come as I looked forward to simply reading Your Word. Fill me, Holy Spirit. Fill me up. Allow me to suffer what I must to get back to loving You passionately and to forsaking all else for the purpose of drawing nearer to You. Father, if David could pray and proclaim that “this poor man cried out, and the Lord heard me, and delivered me from all of my fears” then I believe that You can and will do the same for me. If the psalmist in 119 could cry out, “Let no sin have dominion over me” and mean it and have an expectation that you would actually fulfill it, then I believe You can and will do the same for me. Teach me to cleave to You, to hunger for You, to be desperate once again for You. Let my passion for pursuing Your heart be stirred once again. I know that You are fathering me even in this. You are teaching me to never give up, to persevere, to forget those things which are behind me and to press forward. I receive Your grace and by Your power, I turn my heart and my will back to You. I am victorious. I have already conquered this sin of forsaking You…because You have given me the victory that was won on the cross: the gift of Your fellowship. Oh, but God let it become a reality. I do not wish for my words to be empty…mere talk. Oh, God…let it become a reality in me...in my heart…in my soul…written across my life. By faith I will take hold of You. In the Name of Jesus I ask and proclaim it. Amen.
~ Jaron S.